The Minister of Local Government Francis Kaboneka has called for an end to stigma against persons with disabilities as it threatens their welfare and inclusiveness in development projects.
He was speaking during a disability summit taking place in Kigali which is part of global disability summit.
It was organized by the Ministry of Local Government in partnership with Department for International Development Rwanda (DfID).
The summit aims at generating sustainable commitments from developing countries, donors, civil society, foundations and the private sector for inclusive education, employment technology / innovation and tackling stigma and discrimination among others for persons with disabilities.
Kaboneka said the summit comes at the right time as the country is celebrating key achievements related to the promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. However, there are still children still deprived of their rights to enjoy the opportunities availed for their emancipation.
“Each family should consider that having a disabled child is not a burden, shame or curse. Everyone in the society has the right to be loved and enjoy the opportunities life has to offer without being left behind. We want each and everyone’s contribution to end this issue,” the Minister argued.
Local government officials pledged to conduct a research through the National Council of Persons with Disabilities to reveal the number of people experiencing stigma.
Jo Lomas British High Commissioner, said the global disability summit was an opportunity to celebrate the achievements and rights of people with disabilities, and one that creates an enduring impact, which results in lasting change for people with disabilities around the world.
“Disability is something that the UK is passionate about, and we’re delighted to have such a great partner in Rwanda. We are looking forward to improve our interventions with emphasis on early childhood education for children and development of women with disabilities, she said.
At the summit, persons with disabilities across the country took part in the deliberations through phone-ins.
Vestine Mukamana, a resident of Karongi District resident shared the story of her child who has ‘extreme shortness disability’ .
“My child is always discriminated either at school or other places in general, they insult her and make her feel really embarrassed that she even wants to drop out of school”.
Responding to this, Emmanuel Ndayisaba the Executive Secretary of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) told the affected people not to fear reporting such cases discrimination in Rwanda is a crime.
He said that there is a law against discrimination and victims have access to legal aid.